Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

new gaming system - opinions/critique please

Last response: in Systems
Share
March 22, 2007 9:44:59 PM

I'm looking at putting together a new pc. Primary requirements:

1) Gaming.
2) I will not be over-clocking.
3) Should be relatively quiet (I had one previous pc that sounded like a wind tunnel).

I've done a fair amount of research but had trouble finding reviews on some types of components (ex very few reviews of PSU).

Where I have alternatives, they are listed in my current thoughts on preference (ex for a case I am thinking Antec, Lian Li, or Coolermaster in that order of (current) preference). If you prefer one of the other options (or one I haven't listed), please explain why it would make sense.

Prices are all from NewEgg (I'd rather order from a single place and pay a little more).

Case:
Antec 900 $120
-or-
Lian Li PC-V1000 $210
-or-
Coolermaster Stacker 830 $260

The Antec is well regarded and half the price of the others. All are supposed to cool well and have plenty of space inside. Unfortunately, I could not find any dB numbers for any of the cases.

PSU:
Corsair HX620W $170

Motherboard:
MSI P965 Platinum $135
-or-
eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR $230

The MSI has the features I need (as far as I can tell) and is significantely cheaper. I know the 965 does not support SLI 8800s but I seriously doubt I will ever be willing to spend that kind of money for graphics.

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 $522
-or-
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 $970

The X6800 would be nice but from what I can find, it only gives a 10% or less boost in performance for almost twice the price.

RAM:
4GB GeIL Ultra 800 Plus (3-3-3-8 timings) $500
-or-
4GB good brand less-tight-timing DDR2-800 $400

I don't plan to overclock so I was looking for some tight timings on RAM but am not sure 3-3-3-8 makes $100 difference over 4-4-4-12 or even 5-5-5-15. Thoughts?

GPU:
eVGA GeForce 8800GTS 640MB KO $440
-or-
eVGA GeForce 8800GTX KO $650
-or-
eVGA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB KO [not available at NewEgg]

All of the cards provide great numbers. Haven't quite convinced myself that the GTX is worth an extra $210. I won't be overclocking so I'm happy to pay a little for factory overclock (plus a lifetime warranty on it).

HD1:
Western Digital Raptor 150GB $180

I thought about a second one for RAID0 but currently thinking "no" due to increased cost and potential headaches of RAID (mainly drive failure in RAID0 = very bad).

HD2:
Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ $140
-or-
Seagate ST3500630AS $145

I wanted a Seagate ST3500641AS-R (read some good reviews) but NewEgg doesn't carry it. I couldn't find reviews of the 630AS (admittedly, I didn't look very hard).

CD:
Lite-On LH52-NIP-185 52x $13

I still prefer a plain old CD-ROM for ripping music and non-DVD games.

DVD+/-RW:
Lite-On LH-20A1H-186 20x $39

This unit is cheap and had good reviews. I used to always buy Plextor but they are much more expensive and I wasn't happy with my last Plextor DVD+/-RW.

Sound:
Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer $80
-or-
Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty $183

The Fatal1ty just doesn't appear to offer enough extra features relevant to gaming to justify more than double the price. Am I missing something?

OS:
Windows Vista Ultimate $190
-or-
Windows Media Center $110

I know Vista is the "latest greatest" but I haven't heard or seen anything to convince me it is that great. It just barely edges out MC for me with DX9.0L and DX10 (I am getting an 8800 after all). Are there many games that do not work under Vista? Do they work under the included Virtual PC? Is DX9L really an improvement over DX9C (I've heard both it's better and worse so have no idea)?

Speakers:
I have no idea. I was going to get Logitech Z-5450 (I really like the idea of wireless rear satellites) but they have been discontinued. I've heard the X-540 are pretty good but I may just stick with my Klipsch THX 2.1 speakers.

Monitor:
I currently have a 19" 25ms 1280x1024 LCD which works nicely but it would be nice to be able to use higher resolutions and refresh. Any recommendations for a sub-$1000 4-5ms 20"+ LCD?

General:
I've read a few articles saying that it takes a X6800 to feed an 8800GTX enough data. Will the E6700 do the job or do I need to go with the X6800 if I get the 8800GTX?

Will I need additional cooling? With any of the cases I listed (or the P180 or AeroCool 3T mentioned by the first poster)? I really wish case reviews included more details on cooling capabilities and noise levels.

[Edit to add question on cooling]
March 22, 2007 10:08:45 PM

The Nine Hundred will not be quiet, and it also gathers a lot of dust. In the same price range, take a look at the P180 (for excessive quietness) or the AeroCool ExtremEngine 3T (for relative quietness and better cooling).

The Corsair PSU is awesome.

I'd get the MSI, or a Gigabyte DS3.

Don't spend $500 or $1000 on those processors, it's just silly. If you want to go that ridiculously high-end, at least get the QX quad core version, which would be very future proof. But if you're not going to spend $1k, just get an E6600. Far better price/performance.

Don't buy Geil memory, it sucks. Get a better brand. You also don't need 4gb unless you're using the PC for some very specific professional purposes. Gaming and regular home usage will never use more than 2gb for at least the next year. Furthermore, unless you use a 64-bit OS (which has its own problems), you won't be able to utilize all 4gb. More like 3.25-3.75gb.

Any of those 8800s would be fine for any game foreseeable over the next year, and should still do well beyond that.

Raptor 150gb is a great OS/app/game drive. You might also consider the new Hitachi terabyte drive Tom's just reviewed. It's supposed to be very fast, and that way you wouldn't have the extra noise and headaches of dealing with multiple HDDs.

Why get a regular CD-ROM drive? You can get a DVD-ROM for $5 more, and that will give you the capability to duplicate DVDs and play DVD games without using your burner.

Either X-Fi is fine; the main advantage of the Fatal1ty is that it has slightly better hardware (you probably wouldn't notice unless you're a hardcore audiophile), the control bay, and a remote.

You do NOT need an X6800 to get amazing performance out of an 8800GTX. If there's a bottleneck, it's not much of one, so I wouldn't be concerned.

You'd be downgrading to replace your Klipsch speakers with anything by Logitech.

Check out the 22" monitors by Acer and Samsung. Acer also has 24" and 26" models for $600-750 if you want an even bigger screen. Dell offers the biggest monitors (27" and 30" models) but they cost more than $1,000.
March 22, 2007 11:09:18 PM

Good that you pointed out no overclocking.

I agree with P180 being quieter than 900 cuz 900 has a perforated front bezel = dust vaccum & noise leaker. However, the bundled fans in P180 are audible. For it to be silent, a fan controler will be needed.

My case's only quiet if the fans are at minimal RPM. I use it cuz of its exceptional cooling capacity. Saves me money from buying better cpu hsf & chipset coolers.

http://www.aerocool.us/p-case/extremengine3t/extremengi...

PSU: Very good choice.

Mobo: DS3. 680i isn't what you're looking for. No need for SLI. No o/cing.

CPU: I think the best buy right now is e6300. At the end of April, it'll be $20 cheaper. The other c2d chips will have huge price cuts. You can upgrade to any faster cpu later.

http://www.guru3d.com/newsitem.php?id=5086

RAM: Hell, no! $100 isn't for tighter timings for non-overclockers. It won't give you 10 fps. Save the money for video/psu. It's a gaming rig, is it not?

GPU: Get the fastest you can afford since the primary role of this pc is gaming.

HD1: Perfect.

HD2: Seagate 7200.10.

OS: Ultimate. 32-bit & 64-bit included. If you won't get Vista at all, I suggest you get a DX9 video card instead. The whole point of DX10 cards are DX10 & DX10 games.
Related resources
March 22, 2007 11:28:55 PM

If you can wait a couple of weeks for the Hitachi terabyte to get into stock on the websites, then you should. It's as fast as the raptor, silent, and 7 times the size!

If you have the cash, may as well get the 8800GTX, the most important componant in a gaming PC

Keep the speakers, and get the X-Fi XtremeGamer

Samsung monitors are about the best IMHO, and have HDCP so can play high def content when it's available

Memory performance is probably the least critical part of the whole system, unless you overclock, the difference between 533MHz and 800MHz super tight timings will be near impossible to tell
March 22, 2007 11:39:58 PM

Is this build strictly a gaming build?


Case: Haven't had experience with any
CPU: Have you considered waiting until Apr 22nd and getting a quad-core, if you want one? If I had to choose, the E6700 to save money.
RAM: Just use the 5-5-5-15 RAM to save dough.
GPU: 8800GTX KO
HD2: Take a look at Tom's Hardware HD charts for a little analysis of HD performance.
CD: I'd go DVD drive.
Sound Card: Either one.
OS: Vista Ultimate. Go 64-bit to fully use the 4GB of RAM. Research your drivers thoroughly beforehand.


On a sidenote, is it just me or is anyone else having a lot of troubles with Newegg's site? I keep getting server errors.
March 23, 2007 2:48:55 AM

I've already been typing alot tonight so I won't be my usual chatty self, sorry:

-P180 case, quiet and sexy and affordable.
-6700, save the money, no need for a 6800.
-GTX KO is very nice
-5-x-x-x RAM on a C2D, 4-x-x-x not worth the money difference. Timings aren't as important, speed will still be blistering fast
-For the money you're spending a Raptor is probably the way to go
-Barracuda for the storage drive
-Corsair PSU is definitely nice, but consider a Seasonic 600w or 650w. Dead silent, top notch PSU, a real dream. Not modular, but you can get the M12 if you really want modular. Not needed though, just tuck the cables out of the way and zip tie them down.
-Vista Ultimate, I have it. 32-bit though. If you go 64-bit, be prepared for Driver Hell. Some programs won't work from XP, and some games will definitely load slower. It's gonna take time to get the drivers up to par.
-DS3 mobo, no need to spend so much extra $$ on something else you won't ever need or use.
-Get different brand RAM, too tired to search right now for 2x2gig sticks. Otherwise go 4x1 gig sticks, there are tons of options, just depends on price really. And since you're not overclocking, any decent 5-x-x-x will work.

That's all I got for now. G'night.
!